Trade Show Checklist – What to Bring to an Exhibit Booth

By , December 31, 2015

Taking advantage of a slow work day, I’m updating my “Trade Show Checklist” as I plan for some upcoming events.  These are all items that I want on hand for any event.  (This list does not include “exhibit-specific” items, such as hex wrenches or spare parts for display booths, nor “equipment-specific” items like Cat5 network cable, computer disks, or spare bulbs.)

I have not included “camera” as a separate line item because we all have smart phones with cameras built in.

Your suggestions are welcome!

Note that items marked with * are not appropriate for carry-on luggage.



  • carpet spot cleaner *
  • duster/sweeper
  • hand sanitizer
  • hand steamer or travel iron (thanks to Yolanda Fintschenko for this suggestion)
  • lint brush
  • nail clippers *
  • paper towels
  • spray cleaner *
  • tissue
  • trash bags
  • wipes (unscented)

electrical & electronic

  • bluetooth speaker
  • extension cord (heavy-duty)
  • power strip (heavy-duty)
  • USB cell phone charger
  • USB hub for charging devices [charging station]
  • USB Power Bank (battery)
  • USB memory stick with presentation(s), copy  of web site content


  • bottled water *
  • energy bars
  • mints, lemon drops


  • antacid
  • aspirin, Tylenol™, Advil™
  • band aids; first aid kit
  • lip balm
  • lotion *
  • sun screen
  • talcum powder *


  • logo tablecloth and table runner(s)
  • sheet or table cover (for overnight)
  • signage, banners
  • aromatherapy (suggested in the Staples checklist; also consider scented wipes)
  • flowers and plants (strongly urged by Musgrove & Levinson)
  • map to nearest stores (drug store, department store, discount warehouse, grocery store) for last-minute purchases
  • S-hooks (for hanging on booth pipe & drape)
  • Level

office supplies

  • binder clips, paper clips
  • black markers (Sharpie™); wipe-off markers & eraser if using whiteboard
  • blank labels (various sizes)
  • box cutter, utility knife, spare blades *
  • brochure holders (stands), sign holders
  • business card holders (stands)
  • cable ties, zip ties
  • glue stick(s) *
  • highlighters
  • notepads
  • pens (dozens!), pen holder/cup
  • Post-it™/sticky notes
  • resealable/Ziploc™ bags
  • rubber bands (assorted sizes)
  • safety pins *
  • scissors *
  • stapler, staples, staple remover *
  • string, twine
  • tape: transparent tape, carton sealing tape, duct tape, electrical tape; double-sided foam mounting tape
  • tool kit, multi-tool, screwdriver set *
    • Levinson et al. also suggest: hammer, adjustable wrench, pliers (standard & needlenose); measuring tape; super-glue/cement; cooler for beverages
    • Musgrove also suggests: sandpaper, hot glue gun* & glue sticks
  • Velcro™ fasteners
  • writing pads, note pads, message pads

print matter

  • Brochures
  • Business Cards

swag (giveaway items with your company logo)

courtesy items (these need not be branded/logo’d, nor placed in public view, but shared to make new friends)

  • packets of aspirin, Tylenol™, Advil™, and/or antacid
  • candy (sugar, sugar-free)
  • bottled water
  • pens
  • hand sanitizer, band-aids
  • napkins, wipes
  • spare USB charging cables & chargers, USB power-pack batteries, and spare slots in your charging station
  • sun screen (especially for outdoor events)
  • trash bin for public use (show may charge for rental and for pickup)
  • anything on the full list above, to make friends by sharing

*/ Items like scissors and box cutters are not allowed in carry-on luggage.  Any fluids, gels, or powders could also be an issue.

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